Sound: Every year, boys and girls around the world sit down in practice spaces and recording studios, armed to the teeth with pedals and romance, with the dream of recreating The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' floating just below the surface of their consciousness. There are few more imitated sounds in the instrumental rock world than that of Explosion In The Sky's magnum opus, but we should count ourselves lucky that the band themselves have turned a blind eye to the relentless typecasting and to an extent treaded their own path. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care' is instantly identifiable by its handling of timbre and melody but the band's familiar framework has taken on a couple of new dents.
Firstly, sights and sounds if not practices from 2005 project The Rescue' have been adapted for the full length album here. Samples, percussion and even vocals extend the band's palette (particularly on the Lymbyc Systym-esque Human Qualities') and give the final product a touch of character without affecting the fundamental principles that dictate composition.
But they have, in some ways, been affected. The Texans' LPs are famous for their lengthy structures which swallow up, shelter and contain a core tune; once again the band's melodic development is minimal. Instead they keep things moving until the key moment is reached, and on that moment rests the success of the operation. On Take Care' however, this journeying is driven from the bottom, with drums and percussive electronics pushing higher in the mix and inviting the guitars to move away from their delicate speculation and into more indie rock territory.
Perhaps the best example of the band's intent is Trembling Hands', a rare short-form track which forgoes all the fuss that comes with building up and winding down by bravely laying out its stall within the first few seconds. Upbeat and direct, it takes the band in an almost new wave direction but ends in truly rousing (and truly Explosions) fashion thanks to its final crescendo. Despite a number of new influences and adjustments, the band's foundations still stand and the comfort zone is not abandoned completely see Postcard From 1952' for vintage Munaf Rayani. // 8
Lyrics: As usual, Explosions In The Sky have little to no use for text, but in amongst the musical detail there are a few ooh's, aah's, oh's and mmm's, which add a different texture and, one might argue, a further parallel with the increasingly spacey and psychedelic landscape of modern indie. // 8
Overall Impression: What this album is perhaps lacking is a sense of occasion. Like The Rescue', it is unencumbered by the need to be chronically emotive, but unlike The Rescue', it was made over months, not days and Take Care' is just a little too pleasant a little too often. Even the big, bad closer Let Me Back In' stops at mildly sinister', but the lack of darkness does allow a little more room for playfulness and freedom, which these guys, now seasoned veterans, take advantage of with aplomb. A highly enjoyable listen, but if you'd prefer to be bogged down by introspective dialogue and great emotional weight for the duration, you'd be better off sticking to previous efforts. // 7
- Duncan Geddes (c) 2011